Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thought Of The Week 3/23 - 3/29: Soft Playing

This is a new weekly feature I am staring on The Vegas Experiment blog. I will provide my own commentary on the things I see at the tables, or life in general, that give me pause for concern or just piss me off in some way, shape, or form. This week's thought involves friends soft playing each other at the tables.


This shit would never fly with my friends back home. My buddy B. Litty just the other day informed me of an $800 pot in a local NL hold'em home game that I've been known to frequent when I'm in town. Furthermore, it was against both his and my good buddy Duck. There was no remorse in the tone of his email about the hand. Just told it like it was. He knows someday or another, he will lose in that spot. That's what makes the game such a challenge and so much fun. In fact, everyone I know would take it as a sign of disrespect, not only towards each other, but also towards all other players at the table. I believe in the saying handed down by one of the poker legends (not sure if it was Baldwin or Brunson, or was it someone else?) that goes something along the lines of "I would be willing to break my grandmother for her prescription money if she was sitting at the same table as me." Instead, the same boobs sit around and play the same lousy poker day and day out and when the pot gets heads up between them, they check it down between each other, one of them shows the nuts, and they both have a good laugh. Fuck that! Hell, that is borderline collusion. How do I know they are not working to trap me when I am in a hand that includes both of them? I believe in playing everyone as hard as possible. I mean, if we were all on the basketball court, would they take it easy on each other? Probably not. And why is that? Because they are competing and what good is competing if you don't play as hard as possible? Throw some money into the equation and I guess that principle flies out the window for some people.

I wanted to voice my concerns, but I honestly felt it would do no good. I mean, let's think about the repercussions.

1) I piss off my fishy opponents by calling bullshit. I do not think they are clever enough to collude and work together so accusing them of this would not be smart. Furthermore, they seem like fine gentlemen otherwise and the thought of working together probably never crossed their minds. All I could do is call into question how such play affects the integrity of the game, but my feeling is this ruins the friendly atmosphere that surrounds this game.

2) If I called the floor over, how exactly would I voice my concern? I mean, I know what's going on, but to tell the floor that the guy checking the nuts down to his buddy isn't going to fly. Maybe he was afraid of the flush draw or whatever that the board was showing. You can't make a guy bet his hand, and most times you don't want him to if you're behind and drawing to a probable winner.

So, instead I bite my tongue and grin and bear it. Sometimes I wish other players recognized the spirit of the game and played accordingly. On the other hand, because players do not recognize this, amongst a plethoria of other things surrounding the game, I make long term profits from their bad decisions at the table.

Go ahead and post some feedback on your thoughts on this issue. Have you ever come across this sort of thing in public card rooms or private home games? How did you or would you have handled it?

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